Monday, October 1, 2007
Alki Beach from the Ferry
I got to see a different perspective today - both of Alki Beach and life. I took the ferry to Bremerton early this morning to attend the funeral of my friend Augusta Asberry. Augusta was a nationally renowned artist who specialized in paintings of dancing African American women in their traditional native clothing. Her figures were colorful and dynamic.
Augusta was the oldest of 10 children from a family living in Louisiana. Most of her childhood was spent taking care of her brothers and sisters. Later on she had three children of her own and helped raise three step sons. The chapel today was full of relatives and friends. The City of Bremerton declared today "Augusta Asberry Day."
Among the things Augusta's family said about her during the service was that she was an artist who worked for 35 years as a nurse. During that time in the Bay Area, a painting of hers had won first prize in a prestigious art competition. But when the organizers discovered she was black, they refused to give her the award.
At the time of her death, Augusta was the President of Women Painters of Washington, the oldest art organization of its kind in the nation. I am so proud that the group was able to give her the validation she deserved. Hopefully it made up for some of the unfairness she had encountered during her life.